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Woodwind Reeds - Advice for playing in a world with Covid-19

Posted: 10/06/2020
"As music stores start to reopen and musicians tentatively move toward playing together again, two companies at the sharp end of the woodwind world - Vandoren and Légère - have issued some useful tips for musicians and music stores. "

Advice from Key Woodwind Reed Manufacturers about hygiene and cleaning to mitigate infection.  

As music stores – and others – start to reopen and as musicians tentatively move toward playing together again, thoughts of what precautions to take are at the forefront of many of our minds.

Two companies at the sharp end of the woodwind world: Vandoren and Légère have issued some useful tips for musicians and music stores.

Vandoren have issued this video which shows not only what safety precautions are being taken in their French workshops, but also offers common-sense advice as to how to protect yourself.

Firstly, they advise: Do not let anyone else play your instrument and do not let anyone else touch your mouthpiece, ligature or reeds.

They also answer the question of ‘is it possible to contract the virus from new Vandoren reeds?’.

Reassurance is provided by stating that “There is no physical handling of the reeds during the production process. The only handling comes from quality control and performance testing operations, and those reeds used for these purposes are systematically destroyed by being burned as fuel for their boiler.”

With items such as mouthpieces, where the finishing processes are by hand, the video explains the sanitary measures that Vandoren have in place to avoid any contamination. Hand sanitising, the compulsory wearing of masks and socially distanced production stations all play their part, plus the understanding that any viral load is diminished to a negligible level after 72 hours. As any manufactured product will take several weeks to get from workshop to distributor to store, natural degradation of contaminant will render the item safe.

 

Another company at the forefront of woodwind technology is the French-Canadian reed manufacturer, Légère.

Légère uses food-grade polypropylene to make both single and double reeds. Polypropylene is a common, non-toxic polymer with applications in food containers, packaging, and many other products. Polypropylene does not have to be preconditioned before playing and does not absorb any water. It is non-porous and can be easily sanitised with warm water and a mild detergent.

 

The general advice about not sharing instruments or mouthpieces should be obvious, but it is reassuring to know that if required, your Légère reed can be simply washed in water and detergent to ensure a microbially-safe playing session.